Twelve races on the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season are in the books. There have been eight different winners this season, but there are still some big names out there still searching for that first win in 2015. With just four races remaining, time is running out for these stars of the sport.
There are four big names that have all won races in the last three seasons that still have a goose egg in the win column this year. Two of these drivers have won the series title in years past, and all four drive for the three biggest teams in the series; Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing, and Andretti Autosport. In the unlikely event that all four of them win one of these last four races, at least one driver will not make a trip to victory lane in 2015.
Helio Castroneves is no stranger to success. The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner has the envy of every driver in the series, yet he’s never captured that elusive series championship. He’s been close, on many occasions. In the last 16 years, Castroneves has finished in the top-five of the championship an astounding 12 times, including four runner-up finishes.
Since 2000, there has only been one season (2011) where Castroneves failed to win a race. So far this year, he has five podium finishes, which is the most of any driver in the series. His impressive run from last to second this past weekend in Milwaukee may be a sign that his first win is coming soon.
Tony Kanaan, another veteran Brazilian driver, is still chasing his first win as well. He was hoping that it wouldn’t take as long as it did last year, when he won the season-finale in Fontana. Since 2003, Kanaan has won a race in every season except for 2009, 2011, and 2012. The 2004 series champion won five races during the 2007 season.
This year, he has tallied three podium finishes through the 12 races so far. He has finished in the top six in seven of the 12 races this season, including the last four in a row. But the next race just might be Tony’s. In the last five years at Iowa, he has finished on the podium every single time.
Ryan Hunter-Reay has had an interesting career. In his 12 years of CART/IndyCar, only once has Hunter-Reay finished in the top five in the championship standings. That year was obviously 2012, when he won the IndyCar title. He won four races that year, two the next, then three in 2014, one of them being the Indianapolis 500. Since the end of that year, Ryan just simply hasn’t had the same results, for whatever reason.
He is one of only four full-time drivers in the series that still hasn’t finished a race on the podium this year. His struggles this year have been well documented, but not all of the blame can sit on Honda or the team, as both of his full-time teammates are having their best seasons to date.
Though he may not have the experience that the other three drivers do, Simon Pagenaud certainly does have the talent. Pagenaud won two races in 2013, and two more last season driving for SPM. Now with powerhouse Team Penske, everyone assumed that those results would continue – if not grow. Surprisingly, it just hasn’t happened this year.
His finishes in most races this season aren’t reflective of how he was running, as he’s had his fair share of misfortune in 2015. Still, over the past three seasons, he has collected four wins and ten podium finishes, while also finishing in the top five of the championship in each of those years. He only has one podium finish through 12 races this season, and despite his Pole at Fontana, he really hasn’t been in the spotlight since Belle Isle.
In addition to these four, there are a few other names that jump out. Ed Carpenter, Ryan Briscoe, and Justin Wilson are only running partial schedules, but are very capable of winning one of these last four races. Doing so would guarantee that at least one of the big names on this list will go winless this season. Obviously Marco Andretti is a big name, but he only has two career wins (2006, 2011) in his ten year career.
Four races remain on the 2015 schedule; Iowa, Mid-Ohio, Pocono, and Sonoma. Just four opportunities left to avoid a winless season.